Matekane looks to AGOA to jerk up economy



MOKHOTLONG – Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) promises Basotho that they will become a more pragmatic political party when they gain political power after the October national general elections. Party supporters are also anticipating the quick formation of a stable RFP government which, according to leader Ntsokoane Sam Matekane, if voted into government the party commits to centralising national economy.

Speaking at his party’s political rally in Mokhotlong last Saturday, Matekane highlighted that through the construction of more factories his government will create jobs for Basotho in their own areas and will no longer be forced to relocate to the capital city, Maseru, for employment. He said having to move to another district for employment while the rest of one’s family remains at home is an unnecessary additional cost for such a family as they need to send home a portion of their salaries for basic needs.

Matekane said centralising the economy by bringing employment opportunities closer to the people will be achieved through the United States-backed African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) agreement. AGOA is an agreement between the government of Lesotho and the United States to assist the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry report of 2016 titled ‘The AGOA response strategy for Lesotho’, the textile industry has turned out to be the biggest employer in the country.

In its manifesto, RFP has outlined under key focus areas to achieve urbanisation and industrialisation that it will indigenise textile manufacturing. Matekane said although the AGOA agreement has three years to expire, the RFP-led government will work hard to ensure its extension. Matekane assured his supporters that as a businessman he does not make empty promises but delivers. He said: “In business you have to fulfill. The same applies to me now that I am in politics, I will apply the same principle – to deliver.”

Speaking about some of the developments his government plans to embark upon, Matekane promised to eliminate stock-theft by implanting microchips in livestock. He said the chips will be implanted in a particular number of animals in a household’s herd and that this will be greatly helpful in tracking stolen livestock. These chips, he continued, will be linked to the phones of at least 10 members of a particular household to assist in tracking the animal’s location.

He noted that in case of theft, police will come to the rescue with the use of a helicopter to quickly locate the animals and immediately stop their movement. At the rally, Matekane further promised that the RFP-led government will also construct proper building structures at taxi ranks as well as secure shelters for street vendors so that they will be able to lock their goods at the end of their business day. Some of the activities at the rally included a lucky draw to win two laptops and three cell phones.

The terms and conditions of the lucky draw was that one should register to vote for the upcoming elections with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Before he delivered his keynote address, the leader of RFP randomly drew the winners’ names. Speaking to Public Eye, the RFP public relations officer, Mokhethi Shelile, said the lucky draw was meant to encourage people who have not yet registered to vote with the IEC to do so.

He explained, however, that the draw will kept running only within the period of elections registration. Closing the rally, Matekane firmly urged people to vote and ensure that he wins all the constituencies in Mokhotlong. He said if his party comes to power, it will be able to deliver and be held accountable. In its manifesto under the key focus areas on Information Communication Technology (ICT), the RFP has outlined that it will digitize agriculture and agro-processing through smart farming applications.

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